West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (NYSE:WST) Sees Large Decline in Short Interest

West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (NYSE:WST) was the target of a large drop in short interest during the month of October. As of October 30th, there was short interest totalling 626,900 shares, a drop of 17.3% from the October 15th total of 758,000 shares. Currently, 0.9% of the shares of the company are short sold. Based on an average trading volume of 459,700 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 1.4 days.

WST has been the topic of a number of analyst reports. Stephens initiated coverage on shares of West Pharmaceutical Services in a research note on Tuesday, October 13th. They set an “equal weight” rating and a $300.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of West Pharmaceutical Services from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $313.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Saturday, October 24th. Finally, KeyCorp initiated coverage on shares of West Pharmaceutical Services in a research note on Monday, November 9th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $350.00 target price on the stock.

WST stock traded up $3.51 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $284.73. The company had a trading volume of 351,282 shares, compared to its average volume of 590,887. The company has a market capitalization of $21.05 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 75.13, a P/E/G ratio of 3.86 and a beta of 1.13. West Pharmaceutical Services has a 12-month low of $124.53 and a 12-month high of $305.00. The company has a quick ratio of 2.23, a current ratio of 2.96 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.16. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $286.14 and a 200 day moving average price of $252.85.

West Pharmaceutical Services (NYSE:WST) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 22nd. The medical instruments supplier reported $1.15 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.16. The business had revenue of $548.00 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $510.15 million. West Pharmaceutical Services had a net margin of 14.69% and a return on equity of 19.01%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 20.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.79 EPS. As a group, analysts expect that West Pharmaceutical Services will post 4.27 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, November 18th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, November 11th were paid a $0.17 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Monday, November 9th. This represents a $0.68 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.24%. This is a boost from West Pharmaceutical Services’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.16. West Pharmaceutical Services’s payout ratio is presently 20.99%.

In other West Pharmaceutical Services news, Director Patrick J. Zenner purchased 335 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Saturday, October 17th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $93.94 per share, for a total transaction of $31,469.90. Following the purchase, the director now directly owns 66,475 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,244,661.50. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP George Lloyd Miller sold 9,000 shares of West Pharmaceutical Services stock in a transaction on Friday, November 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $296.67, for a total transaction of $2,670,030.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 16,540 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,906,921.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 1.60% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in WST. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its stake in West Pharmaceutical Services by 12.2% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 8,620,187 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $1,958,248,000 after purchasing an additional 938,852 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC increased its holdings in shares of West Pharmaceutical Services by 7,826.5% in the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 580,698 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $131,917,000 after buying an additional 573,372 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in shares of West Pharmaceutical Services by 4.0% in the 3rd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 6,940,029 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $1,907,816,000 after buying an additional 267,185 shares during the last quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA increased its holdings in shares of West Pharmaceutical Services by 35.4% in the 3rd quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 659,321 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $181,248,000 after buying an additional 172,414 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership increased its holdings in shares of West Pharmaceutical Services by 660.9% in the 3rd quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership now owns 186,516 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock worth $51,273,000 after buying an additional 162,003 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 92.55% of the company’s stock.

About West Pharmaceutical Services

West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc manufactures and sells containment and delivery systems for injectable drugs and healthcare products in the United States, Germany, Ireland, France, Other European countries, and internationally. The company operates through two segments, Proprietary Products and Contract-Manufactured Products.

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